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Holding a divorce lawyer accountable for losing your marital home

Divorce is a difficult and emotional time. Those facing the end of a marriage often experience profound grief about the relationship. They need assistance to navigate the divorce process. The average person doesn’t understand much about family law statutes.

Even if they understand the basics of the law, it is all but impossible to remain calm and collected when discussing deeply personal matters, like custody arrangements for minor children. People who hire lawyers trust their attorneys to provide them with appropriate legal guidance and adequate representation in court.

Unfortunately, some people choose the wrong lawyers and do not receive the representation they need. They could end up dealing with highly unfavorable property division terms. A legal malpractice lawsuit could be a way to hold an attorney accountable for losing one’s marital home during a divorce.

When a lawyer might be to blame for a divorce outcome

Agreeing to an uneven property division settlement or losing the right to counter a spouse’s proposed settlement could lead to one spouse losing their share of home equity. In 2024, the median home value in the United States is $420,800 when looking at home sales. The loss of half of the equity in a home could be a major financial setback.

There are several reasons why a lawyer could be liable for someone losing their home in a divorce. The first might be the failure to provide a professional standard of representation. An attorney should educate their client about property division rules and then advocate for them during negotiations.

They are also responsible provide feedback and guidance when someone responds to settlement proposals during negotiations or mediation. If an attorney recommends that someone accept a settlement that puts them at a significant disadvantage, doesn’t educate them about the right of financial discovery or otherwise fails to provide the guidance a lawyer typically should, the representation they provided may not meet current professional standards. That could constitute malpractice.

So could a failure to abide by key court requirements, such as filing a response to the initial divorce paperwork within a certain timeline. Technical errors during the divorce process can lead to a highly unfavorable outcome during property division matters.

Provided that major mistakes, unprofessional representation or even unethical behavior, such as a failure to disclose a pre-existing connection with a client’s spouse, could all potentially provide the necessary grounds for a legal malpractice claim. Holding an attorney accountable for legal malpractice can reduce the negative financial impact that bad representation has on an individual. A successful claim can lead to compensation and professional consequences for the attorney involved.

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